April began with a visit from everyone's favorite aunt... Stacy. She and daughter Zoe came out from IL to visit, and a wonderful visit it was. Who knew it would include a musical walk down memory lane complete with Peter Murphy and the Violent Femmes? Sure didn't see that coming.
The first leg of our epic spring break journey led us to Indianapolis, with about a zillion of our closest friends at the NCAA tournament. Shipley and I headed downtown Saturday, while my wonderful husband hung out at her house with the four youngest boys. (Now, if THAT ain't love, I don't know what is!) The energy in downtown Indy was incredible, and Butler was definitely the buzz of the weekend. Imagine our excitement when they pulled off the win against Michigan State. We felt so lucky to be there and share it... with about a zillion of our closest friends. All I can say to sum it up is, "B-U,... T-L-E,... R-YOU A BULLDOG, HELL YES!"
We left Indy Sunday morning, not heading north, but south. We hadn't told the boys about our Florida trip since we wanted it to be a surprise. It took them until we were on the bridge into Louisville to realize it wasn't Fort Wayne. Sam was all, "Where ARE we?!?" I had feared backlash and possible mutiny from the far back seat (Jack and/or Charlie) since neither were excited about the two-hour road trip from home to Indy. To quote Jack, "I hate road trips. Why do we have to spend two hours in the car?" So, when we had to spring a 20-hour road trip on them, well... you can see where I'm coming from. My genius husband led the announcement with, "Who wants to go see the space shuttle take off?" That? Was the ace in the hole. All three boys' faces lit up like the shuttle itself, and they were intrigued. When we announced our final destination was Florida, there were broad smiles all around. Thankfully so. The slight drawback was that, in order to make it to the shuttle launch at the space center (slated for 6:20 Monday morning) we were looking at an all-night drive. In the end, it wasn't too bad, and SO COMPLETELY WORTH IT. The launch was amazing, and not at all how I imagined it. You know how on television you're used to seeing rocket launches and such where the rocket (or whichever type of projectile is going up) sort of rumbles in place then lumbers up into the air? (OK... maybe I'm remembering all the late-60s/early 70s footage.) Modern launches look like a high-speed sunrise. One minute we're standing there in total nighttime darkness -- the next, Discovery lit up and was airborne. Simply amazing. I took video, and if I ever advance my tech-geek knowledge, I will post it online.
Apparently, with the actual event over so soon (like, under five minutes) everyone pretty much gets back in their cars and heads to the McDonald's in Cocoa Beach. At least that's where it seemed like everyone went. We managed a quick stop at a hotel-lobby-hidden Starbuck's before getting to McD's, where the line was quickly growing. Ultimately, it was out the door and snaked its way down the sidewalk, which -- for some reason -- amazed the boys. After having breakfast, we walked out to the beach, sunscreened the boys up and let them go. Funny how when you've been up all night you can lose perspective on time. To me, it felt like noon. Really? It was, like, 8:30am. So early, in fact, that we were part of a throng of post-launch beach-goers who ended up disturbing the homeless guy's sleep on the beach. Sorry, Dude!
Later, we made our way south along the Atlantic coast to Hutchinson Island, and Jensen Beach where our oceanfront condo awaited. It. Was. Beautiful. Last-minute planning of this trip allowed for a major deal on the accommodations, and what a stroke of luck that was.
This is the view from our balcony. The white thing sticking up is one of two enormous hammocks, which were in a cozy little courtyard area. The boys loved playing on those. Just beyond the mangroves is the beach. We were delighted to have a view of the ocean, yet have some of the "I'm-comfortable-with-my-body" sunbathers blocked from view. Seriously, do some people even bother to LOOK IN THE MIRROR when they put on a bathing suit and head to the beach?!? Sheesh.
We spent the week visiting with Jeff's grandparents, aunt, uncle and cousin... taking in the beach that was mere steps from our condo... swimming in the pool... collecting shells... and, above all, RELAXING.
Bobby, getting his sandy little groove on...
Next, a photo of all "my guys" -- except it HAD to be cropped because Jeff said if I posted a photo of him without his shirt on, he would blow up the photos he took of me on the beach and pretty much make sure they were seen by many people. After I got an alarming, horrifying look at those photos of myself, I decided to fully comply with his ultimatum. And I got my jiggly stomach and fat ass to the gym. Pronto. In any event, here are FOUR of the guys... having the time of their lives on the beach.
I assume THIS one is approved. His shirt is on.